Growing up in Toronto in the 1980s, you only had so many television stations. Many of these stations were Buffalo affiliates for CBS, NBC and ABC. That meant a great deal of Buffalo Bills talk made its way into my family room.
Since Toronto didn't have an NFL team, and we were being force-fed content from Buffalo, I drank the Flavor-Aid and considered the Bills "my team". As we entered the 90s, the Bills were also damn good. Jim Kelly, Thurman Thomas, Andre Reed, James Lofton, Steve Tasker... these were our guys and they played in four consecutive Super Bowls from '91-'94.
Fast-forward to early 2000, and I'm still a Bills fan, donning my Doug Flutie jersey when Wade Phillips played Rob Johnson at QB in the Music City Miracle game. I had an epiphany after that game. I realized that the Buffalo Bills were not, and are not, Toronto's team.
Sure, there was that flirtation with being Toronto's team involving Bon Jovi amongst others, but we were just a pawn in a much bigger game and other than a few exhibition games, nothing came of it. The Bills belong to Buffalo, a different city in a different country. Should they ever win a Super Bowl, the parade will not roll down Yonge Street and no ceremony will take place at Nathan Phillips Square. They ain't ours.
This past Sunday, I hosted a party to celebrate my son's 22nd birthday. Afterwards, I settled in to watch the Bills and Chiefs and witnessed another "wide right" end Buffalo's season. This time, however, I was rooting for the Chiefs and Patrick Mahomes.
I can do that. The Buffalo Bills are not Toronto's team.